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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  July 12, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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>> 07/12/12 07/12/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> ♪ this land is your land, this land is my land from california to the new york island from the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters this and land was made for you and me ♪ >> "democracy now!" special on the life, politics and music of
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woody guthrie, the dustbowl troubadour. born a hundred years ago on july 14, 1912, we will speak with his daughter nora guthrie and granddaughter anna canoni, and be joined by woody guthrie- inspired musician, steve earle. >> woody is 100 years old. he invented my job. i am grateful for that. i have a job. there's a lot of people that cannot say that right now. this is music for times exactly like these. happy birthday, woody. >> legendary folk singer pete seeger. >> woody took over and entranced everybody, not just with singing but storytelling. >> i come from oklahoma. u.s. and will? go down in the ground and the some oil. if you want lead, go down and
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get some lead. if you want coal, we have: oklahoma. if you want food, clothes, grocers, just go in the hole and stay there. >> happy one of your birth date, woody guthrie. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. republican presidential candidate mitt romney faced an icy reception wednesday as he addressed the annual convention of the naacp. romney drew boos from the crowd when he vowed to repeal president obama's healthcare law and billed himself as the better candidate for the african- american community. >> if our goal is jobs, we ought to stop spending over one trillion dollars more than we take in every year. [applause] and so to do that, i will eliminate every non-essential
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expensive program i can find, including obamacare and i will work to reform and save -- [boos] i submit this, if you want a president who will make things better in the african-american community, you're looking at him. [applause] you take a look. >> romney later drew controversy when he discussed his naacp appearance at a fund-raising event last night in montana. romney reportedly told a crowd "if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy -- more free stuff. but don't forget, nothing is really free." as romney continue to down into the so-called obamacare, the republic controlled house passed a measure to repeal the law. democrats said the measure has no chance of passing the senate.
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house majority leader and democratic minority leader traded barbs over the law. >> we are trying to in the era of washington controlled health care. we believe, as most american people, that it is patient- centered care is our goal. that is where we need to start. we start along a path by revealing obamacare. >> american people want us to create jobs. that is what we should be using the time on the floor for, not this useless, bill to know where the the serious damage to the health and economic well-being of america's families. >> the house vote mark the 33rd time the house has voted to repeal all or part of obama's health care law. bashar al-assad has suffered the first defection from its diplomatic ranks. syria's ambassador to iraq
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announced his resignation and his new allegiance to syria's rebels. >> i am announcing my resignation as syria's ambassador to iraq. i am also announcing a withdrawal from the party in column of remembers to do the same because the regime has used it as a. i'm announcing from this moment on that i am siding with the revolution in syria. it is my natural place in these difficult circumstances under which syria is going through. >> the defection comes as al- assad faces the threat of new international sanctions at the united nations. on thursday, the u.s. and three security council allies submitted a new proposal that would give al-assad a 10-day deadline to implement an international cease-fire plan or face new sanctions. u.s. ambassador to the u.n., susan rice, said the sanctions would shore up the work of international monitors inside syria. >> the fact is, regrettably, not
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a present able to do the job this council mandated it to do because of the regime's persistent refusal to take the basic steps to halt the violence. without this council taking concrete measures to increase the pressure for the kofi annan in geneva plans to be implemented by the government, it is not plausible to assume the will be any more able to fill its mandate in the future than is now. >> in response to the proposal, syria's ambassador to the u.s. said the threat of new sanctions could derail the international ceasefire plan. >> we are fully committed toward the success of mr. kofi annan's plan, but the same time, we are fully warning everybody that the other efforts deployed by here and there by this country or that country to derail the six-point plan of mr.
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kofi annan from its initial track would be extremely dangerous. >> thousands of people marched in spain's capital of madrid wednesday after the government unveiled a new round of spending cuts and tax hikes to obtain a risk of the country's banks. speaking to lawmakers, the spanish prime minister said the $80 billion austerity measures were demanded by the european union as a condition for emergency bailout of spain's banks. >> with the inevitable fiscal adjustment, we must take on the structural reforms our economy needs to recover its competitiveness and flexibility to generate growth and jobs. the package represented this chamber combines spending cuts with the initiatives for earnings, following the recommendation of the council. >> after the spanish prime
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minister's speech, an estimated 70 people were injured after clashes broke out between police and protesters in the streets of madrid. the crowd included a large turnout of coal miners who say an end to government subsidies will kill their industry. one protester said spanish workers are being forced to bear the brunt of spain's fiscal crisis. >> we the workers have to sacrifice ourselves for others, for the bankers, for those who do not pay taxes. there's not a kabul distribution of suffering over this crisis. -- there is not equitable distribution of suffering over this crisis. >> the head of one of spain's largest banks, bankia, has been or is now under national investigation and could face time in jail. he is the former head of the imf. to see our interviews with m15 activist, occupied-like activists in spain, who founded
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the lawsuit that brought on this investigation, go to the guantanamo bay prisoner who once served as osama bin laden's cook and bodyguard has been released after 10 years behind bars. ibrahim al-qosi was initially sentenced to 14 years in 2010, but later had his term reduced under an unspecified plea deal. he was never accused of any acts of violence. he has returned to his native sudan where he's been reunited with his wife and two children. secretary of state clinton has visited laos, become the first u.s. official in her position to do so in nearly 60 years. during her brief stay, clinton met with a young victim who lost his forearms and eyesight after an unexploded bomb dropped by the u.s. during the vietnam war went off beneath an. the victim urged clinton to do more to clean up the millions of unexploded bombs the remain in laos and have killed some 20,000 people and injured many more
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over the past 40 years. the u.s. has never apologized to allows for its nine-year bombing campaign, which dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs between 1964 and 1973. the bombing of laos was one of the most intense of any country in history, surpassing the combined bombing of japan and germany during the second world war. the obama administration is granted permission for u.s. companies to invest in burma, the latest of a significant and a series of moves to ease sanctions bombing a pair reforms in the election of burmese pro- democracy leader aung san suu kyi to parliament. the move would open a burma's will and gas sector to ask companies despite a call by aung san suu kyi for companies to boycott the state-run oil company until becomes more open and accountable. human rights groups have criticized the decision saying the u.s. appears to have caved to industry pressure.
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activists opposed to the controversial gas drilling process known as fracking or hailing an unprecedented direct action that brought a drilling operation in pennsylvania to a temporary halt. dozens of activists with the group earth first blockaded an access road leading to a well in pennsylvania's moshannon state forest, stopping operation in an area targeted for heavy drilling. two activists known as tree sitters hung from trees with anchor ropes strung across the access road. drilling was reportedly suspended for 12 hours at the site before authorities dispersed the protest. activists say it is the first time protesters have shut down a hydrofracking drilling operation in the u.s. hydraulic fracturing involves blasting a mix of sand, water, and chemicals into shale rock to extract gas. opponents say the process imperils drinking water supplies, threatens public health, and damages the environment. the protest action comes weeks after activists and residents of the riverdale mobile home park in jersey shore, pennsylvania,
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staged a protesting cannon against the company that had bought the park and evicted residents to make way for fracking related operation. a federal judge as continue to block an effort by the state of mississippi to close its last remaining abortion clinic. the jackson women's health organization faced closure under new state law that would have forced all physicians to perform abortions to be ob-gyns with power to admit patients to local hospitals. the jackson clinic does employ ob-gyns, but only one has been able to obtain the necessary privileges from the hospitals. the law would have forced women to drive hundreds of miles out of state in order to obtain an abortion. on wednesday, judge daniel jordan of federal district court extended his ruling from earlier this month blocking the law from taking effect for now. at least one protester's was injured in clashes with police at new york city's zuccotti park wednesday during a rally celebrating the 100th birthday of the late legendary folk singer songwriter woody guthrie.
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hundreds of occupy wall street protesters gathered at the park yesterday and police reportedly began shoving people onto the sidewalk. the protesters marched for six days from the liberty bell in pennsylvania during the rally protesters saying is legendary folk ballad "this land is your land." those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. commemorations are being held across the country this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the country's greatest songwriters, woody guthrie. born on july 14, 1912, and okemah, oklahoma, he wrote hundreds of folk songs including this land is your land, pastors aplenty, pretty boy floyd, and "the rangers command." russelters broke on
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us in the dead ours of night she rose from her blanket a battle to fight she rose from her blanket with a gun in each hand said come all of you cowboys fight for your land ♪ >> a rare video of woody guthrie known as the dustbowl troubadour. he became a major influence on countless musicians including bob dylan, bruce springsteen, pete seeger and phil oaks. well woody guthrie is best remembered as a musician, get a deeply political side. at the height of mccarthyism, he spoke out for labor and civil- rights and against fascism.
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he died in 1967 after a long battle with huntington's disease, but his music lives on. >> we speak with woody guthrie's daughter and granddaughter of the next hour and will be joined in the studio by the musician >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. . first, woody guthrie in his own words been interviewed by the musicologist alan lomax. >> what did your family do? where did they come from? >> well, they come from texas in the early day. my dad got to oklahoma right after statehood. he was the first clerk of the county court. and okemah, oklahoma. he is known as one of them old hard-hitting fist fighting democrats, you know, run for office down there and they used to miscount the votes all the time. so every time my dad went to town, the first question i would
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ask him when he come riding in on a horse that evening, i would say, "well, how many fights did you have today?" he would take me on his knee and proceed to tell me who he was fighting and why and all about it. we will show these fascists what a couple of hillbillies can do. >> where did you live, on a farm? >> no, i was born there in that little town. my dad built a six-room house, cost him about $7,000 or $8,000 for a day later, it burned down. >> what kind of a place was okemah? how big was it? >> in them days, about 1500 in 2000 a few years later, then about 5000. they struck some pretty rich oil pools all around there.
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all up and down the whole country there that got oil got some pretty nice will fill the round okemah. >> anybody in the oil company in your family? >> no, we got the grease. >> woody guthrie being interviewed by alan lomax. as we mark the centennial, his birthday is this saturday, we're joined in our new york studio by three very special guests. nora guthrie is woody guthrie's daughter. she is president of woody guthrie publications. she is author of the brand new book, "my name is new york: ramblin' around woddy guthrie's town." is published by power house books. we're joined by anna canoni, woody guthrie's granddaughter. musician, actor, author steve earle, is with us. he is performing at woodyfest, a three-day concert in celebration of woody guthrie's birthday at
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the city winery. his recent novel and album share the same name, "i'll never get out of this world alive." we welcome you all "democracy now!" to nora, tell us about woody's early years and significance of your father woody guthrie. >> he grew up in a small town in oklahoma, okemah. it was 1912. he came from a relatively middle-class family. they were in the real spirit of what we would call entrepreneurs. his dad was raring to go, making a success of himself and his mother was a scotch irish women. it was from her he learned how to write ballads. she saying all the long ballots from the old country to him. and spent a couple of years there. their life quickly began to fall apart. the house burn down, they lost all their money, illness and fires, followed him around he
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lost his sister in the fire. by the time was 14, he was on his own, living in a game house with a bunch of other kids on their own. that is really when he began to kind of become conscious of the world around him and all the troubles he was seen. and he moved up to texas after a couple of years of living with the kids in the game house. by the time the great dustbowl rather worse. whens sitting and pampa the dust bowl of 1935 took place. i bring this up because it is a wake-up call. it seems as human beings we need these catastrophic wake-up calls to realize in to begin asking who we are, why we're alive, and what we can do about it. that was the beginning of his journey. he migrated to california with a couple hundred thousand other people, the largest migration in
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the history of the united states. and we discovered when he left his small circle of life oklahoma and texas was that the world was not what he thought it was. when they tried to cross over to the california border for jobs, they were all stopped. there were stopped by vigilante groups and state troopers who did not want the influx of all of these people who have lost their farms where they had lived for generations. it was like one step after the next, the series of wake-up calls. >> i want to turn to an excerpt of an interview we did -- in 1949 at the new jersey ymca. he describes making early childhood political speeches. >> the time i was born in 1912, my father was a hard, fist fighting, woodrow wilson democrat.
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woodrow wilson was nominated that same year. i was about 45 years old, long before school, i remember my dad used to give the political speeches. i would climb up in the hay wagon. i would make my little speeches. it might be i turned out now or do not believe these speeches anymore, and we just the opposite. >> when he first began singing and songwriting? >> he started early on in texas. his first little band, the corncob trio, then the chamber of commerce and. but in those days, mostly influenced by the music he had heard on the radio. i have to go because he did what every 19-year-old kid does, he forms a band to get a
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girlfriend. that was just the impetus behind the whole thing. the early songs he was riding were kind of dance and music. he played church socials, local happenings for the fun of it. it did not occurred to him that music could be expanded from that perspective until he got to los angeles. >> what happened in los angeles? >> he was introduced to the labor movement, a political movement, which was pretty active in los angeles in the late 1930's. i have to go back. all along the way, hit are replete with the idea of songwriting, but -- he had played with the idea of songwriting, but as he was traveling along, particularly when he had the issues at the border trying to go in the california and a couple of other things, the vigilante groups he ran into their work try to
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keepthe okies and arkies out of california, a couple of incidents in starting to start writing a couple of verses on his own. again, his only 20. he keeps track of stories of the vigilantes', stories of crossing the border and songs like "california is the garden of eden." things like that. pretty boy floyd. he brings some of these verses and tunes when it comes to california and it's his first radio show. >> steve earle, i am wondering if you could talk about the significance of woody guthrie in your life. >> the kind of invented my job. i found out about woody guthrie the same way a lot of people my age did, through bob dylan.
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i am 57, so my first bob dylan records were actually late ones. i backtracked through -- i had a drama teacher in high school who gave me a couple of bob dylan records. that is the first time ever heard -- i had heard woody guthrie and the bob dylan records, the ones i had bought as they came out, but that was the first, made the connection between just how much in the early going bob dylan was woody guthrie, and how important woody had been to bob. anders to the connection when i heard the early records for the first time. it is 1969, i am 14 years old. the vietnam war is going on. i am not a candidate for student deferment read by friends started getting drafted as i got older and i started playing coffeehouses because i was not old enough to plan places that serve liquor. one coffee house in san antonio, texas was -- these people
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quoted woody guthrie chapter and verse. the local underground newspaper was published upstairs. and never separated music and politics, which kept bringing me back to would be over and over. i finally went to nashville, tennessee when i was 19. i still do not consider myself to be a political artist, just an artist that i think like woody, is a politically charged times. when i started, the war was going on. i think the songs become more relevant every second in the times we're living. >> i was there last night when you played his song "deportees." i was wondering if you could do our break like by doing that song. >> more important to me because i come from occupy mexico. ♪ [music break]
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>> wow, what a break. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. steve earle, live in our studio, a three-time grammy award winning artist, that reductions are a musician. we're joined by woody guthrie's daughter nora guthrie, who runs the woody guthrie archives anna canoni, and anna, his granddaughter who works at the archives as well. when you listen to this song about this crash, anna, in 1948, 20 miles west in fresno county where the people being deported were killed, your thoughts about your grandfather? >> i play the song for my kids. i sing it, i don't play. i sing it every night when they go to sleep, which is an
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interesting way to put your kids asleep, i will say. [laughter] there are children's songs he does, but i put my kids to sleep with this song. i am constantly learning about woody. we're still learning more and more about him. i was raised knowing who my grandfather was in terms of being a songwriter. back then, in the early 1980's in queens, not a lot of friends knew, so it is not like he was a superstar. it was more that he had something to say that was very important and i was raised on all of his music. then i started working for my mom at the woody guthrie publications office. about 10 years ago. i am learning more and more. i am loving more and more about who my grandfather really was our leading journals and putting out books and learning, researching the woody guthrie archives.
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>> nora guthrie i want nora asked about howard beach. woody guthrie is the quintessential poet of the american heartland, yet he spent a considerable amount of life in new york city. not just in manhattan, but coney island, howard beach. you put out an entire book on woody in new york city. can you talk about how he got here and some of the places he called home? >> he came to new york in 1940, hitchhiked across and arrived in february 16, 1940. he came at the invite of will gear, an actor, a friend he met in los angeles. a lot of people know him as grandpa walton. he was starring in a show in new york any white wouldn't use it and said, each to come here they may like year. -- he was starring in a show in new york and said, you should come here, they may like to
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hear. the first three songs he wrote, the first week he was in new york, he had traveled across the country and was looking out the window at the little hotel room, and remembering his journey. he sat down and wrote "this land is your land" the first week in new york. a lot of people do not realize that. this and he wrote it in midwest, but it is really a new york song, about the result, the culmination of that journey and how it puts it together. the lyric in this boarding house -- right now, you know it stands on the corner? trudeau pursuit question. bank of america headquarters. [laughter] >> woody guthrie appearing on the new york real program featuring the folk singer leadbelly. >> good afternoon.
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another in the series, folk songs of america featuring a great folksinger of louisiana, ledbetter, better known as leadbelly. the dustiest those bowler of them all, woody guthrie of oklahoma. >> here is a song that has to do with a book and a motion picture that come out a while back by the name of "the grapes of wrath known by john steinbeck. it just so happen he hit a jackpot because he knew where he was going and knew what he was writing about. so, i did not read the book, but i seen the picture three times.
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i come home and sat down and wrote a little piece about it. the name of this is "the ballot of tom joad." tom joad got out of that old mcalester pen there he got his parole after four long years on a man killing charge tom joad come a walking down the road, poor boy tom joad come a walking down the road it was there he found him a truck driving man there he got him a ride said: "i just got a-loose from the old penitentiary charge called homicide, poor boy, it was a charge called homicide
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>> that clip of woody guthrie from 1940 comes courtesy of the down-home radio show. in your book, pc or brought him over to write this song, describe the situation and the >> of john steinbeck and he heard this remarkable song. >> would be needed a typewriter to write this particular song and pete had a typewriter. he was living on fourth street and east village at the time. he spent all night at the type raiders. peach was hanging around with him read he finally said, he got so tired of him, he had a jug of wine, people went to bed and when you woke up, there's the 16-burrs ballad of "tom joad." woody was asleep under the table. it was a wonderful, consolidation of steinbeck's
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book "the grapes of wrath." woody was very moved by the character of tom joad and closely identified with him personally as a young man. he wished he could have said, that is where i'm going to be, when tom joad says, wherever people are fighting for their rights, wherever people ain't afraid, that is where i'm going to be, ma. mantra ine woody's life. he said, "that son of a b-- put down in two hours would took me 16 years to write." >> let's talk about the musicians who worked with woody. we interviewed pete seeger of "democracy now!" a couple of years ago who talked about alan lomax and woody guthrie. >> what got me started and many others, old woody guthrie says,
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woody guthrie, your mission in life is to write songs and to let anything distract you. you're like the people who wrote the ballads of robin hood and the ballad of jesse james. you keep writing ballads as long as you can. and woody took it to heart. he was not a good husband. he was always running off, but he wrote songs, as you know. >> do you remember when he first met woody guthrie? >> i will never forget it. a benefit concert for california agricultural workers on broadway. at midnight, burl ives was there, the golden gate quartet, leadbelly, a square dance group with my wife dancing in it. i saying one song very amateurishly and retired in confusion to a smattering of polite applause, but woody took over. in 20 minutes, interest everyone
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not just singing, but storytelling. >> i come from oklahoma, you know. it is a rich state. he was some oil, go down in the granite the sun. if you want lead, we got lead. go down the hall and get you some lead. if you want coal, we have coal. go down the hole and get you some coal. food, clothing, just go in the hole and stay there. >> then he would sing a song. >> that was pete seeger describing woody guthrie. talk about when they tried out at the rainbow room. >> the hooked up early on with pete seeger and a couple of other musicians living and working together as the almanac singers. historically, it is important as it was the first communal group to form a folk music and, so to speak, that devolved into everything we know from the kingston trio to the weavers, etc.. they all grew out of that core
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idea. they were kind of getting popular in new york. folk music was new. it was a bit of a buzz happening around town. they got a chance to audition, even at the rainbow room. people loved them. every time there would sing a song that put them down, the rich people loved it because there's nothing more than the love than having a sense of humor. then you get serious and they stopped laughing. they did this audition at the rainbow room and were very popular. the people said, you guys are great and wanted to dress them up as hillbillies. they wanted bonnets and where a thing and sit on a pile of hay and we will do hillbilly music in new york city. the delete will just love it. would the kind of freaked out and said, i am not going to do this. the rest of the almanacs were going, why not? this is a good paying gig. woody says, i'm not going to make fun of my people.
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they said, but they're going to pay a lot of money. he said, i am not going to make fun of my people. and that is what they want us to do. they want us to be appear so they can laugh at us. instead of listen to us. he started writing songs on the spot. he was a good improviser. he said "the rainbow room, strew their salad with standard oil in new york city." he totally blew the situation. [laughter] his skate down the elevator 60 something floors. people do not understand how hard it is to do things like that, especially when you need money. they were very poor little group. i think many -- woody taught people how to say no >> steve earle, his importance in terms of purging politics and music on his guitar he had this machine
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tools fascists. >> on several quatorze, including some that did not belong to him. sometimes it was written on the surface of the guitar and there are several signs he made that were put on other big stars. there's a whole thing of, i'm a collector and i spent a lot of time tried to track down the history of various guitars woody guthrie was photographed with. there are five or six he was photographed with. one gives him -- there is a martin his photographed over and over and it was not his guitar. it was the wife of will gear. he borrowed a for a very long time. the whole thing about -- and lot has to do with just two woody was and how woody was. it was a professional entertainer. he had an extremely successful radio show.
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he had losses that allowed him to get away with a certain amount because of their own political conviction. there was a lot going on. his audience at that point it was the labor movement. that sort of -- he was becoming woody guthrie at that point. but the time he arrives in new york city, he is woody guthrie and knows he is. i think he made decisions -- you could make a different decision is made more money, but i think there's a point you realize, ok, i've got this audience and i'm going to keep this audience and be able to look at myself and the mayor if there are certain lines i draw for myself as a overtime and identify myself as an entertainer that i do not cross. it is not necessarily a static thing. times change. what is important to you changes. but i think -- he was not doing this for money. he was doing it because it
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happened. he became hooey was as a performer, as organically is i think anyone can come up with a career plan, is sort of happens. a lot of it is who he was. i think most of it is who we become as artists, as whatever the world presents to us and the pants we travel. >> our next break, steve, your choice. >> i don't have any doubt about it. ♪ [music break]
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>> steve earle playing woody guthrie. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we continue our special today marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important folk singers of our time, a celebration -- celebrations are being held around the world. born in 1912, from california to the new york island, including here in new york city where steve earle, among many musicians, is performing at woodyfest. also in okemah, oklahoma. steve earle is with us. woody guthrie's daughter nora guthrie, president of the woody
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guthrie foundation and his granddaughter anna canoni, who works as the archives as they preserve woody guthrie's memory. when did he write this on no,ra? >> woody wrote over 600 songs. he was in new york city from 1940 until he passed away in 1967. a lot of people do not think of him as a new yorker, but that was his home town for most of his life. he was 27 when it came to new york. that is 20 road "this land is your land." can you imagine? what are you doing when you're 27? >> what about the forbidden covers -- verses? >> it was a cause appeared i of irving berlin pause song "god bless america."
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kate smith had a hit song. i never considered it anti- berlin and refused to consider it as such. and a lot of people at made a big thing of that. but i think it is an extension of "god bless america." one is the voice of an immigrant coming from a really hard time in russia, and really glad to be here, and the other is when you are born here and it is the next extension, chapter 2 of a song about america. anyway, nobody asked, but that is my thoughts about it. he wrote a ton of stuff in new york city. ats to go along the bars ninth avenue and 10th avenue on the west side. >> those are sailor bars. >> sailors and guys who worked on ships, etc. the lines were coming in from liverpool. that is another story, the
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connection of rock-and-roll and the beatles and on the down again. that is how the beatles heard about woody. they would go to lonnie's shows in liverpool. he was singing leadbelly tunes. the beatles were like 14, 15, 16 in the audience listening. there was this incredible musical history lineage between woody, the upper west side and the docks releasing songs like "hey, hey, hey" in a bar for a nickel to get a drink, basically. >> in the last 15 years of his life, he got very sick. can you talk about his struggle with huntington's disease? >> and the disease claimed his mother's life as well. >> his mother was institutionalized when he was about 12. she had an unknown disease and falling apart, basically.
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they figured it was all the troubles the family was having by losing their money in the depression. she was put in an insane asylum. they did not know what to do it. she passed away there. woody never saw her again. in the late 1940's, when he suspected something was wrong with him as well. -- woody suspected something was wrong with him as well. his behavior started changing, having trouble walking, things like that. at the time, nobody really knew what it was. his friends thought he was drinking a lot. they started staying clear of him because they thought he was a bad influence. a lot of the anecdotal history that you still hear around town is, what a drunk he was, womanizer, etc. but all this is really related to huntington's disease including hypersexual behavior and things like that. long story short, he was finally diagnosed around 1962.
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all they could do was diagnosed you. you have huntingtons, but we have no clue what to do about it. >> it makes you lose control. >> it affects body, mind, everything. it is a neurological. emotionally, psychologically he started changing. he really started falling apart, actually. it cost a lot of problems in the family, obviously, because nobody knew he was just crazy. -- nobody knew. he was just crazy. he was diagnosed. the >> institutionalize? >> he put himself in the hospital. he wandered around the country and tried to hold on to whatever life he had. he was probably running away from it. he was hitchhiking around the country, dropping in on old friends in california and oklahoma. finally, he got a grip on himself and realized he needed to be hospitalized.
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he lived for 15 years in different nyc hospitals. >> light gray stone out of new jersey. >> ironically, it was the largest psychiatric ward in the east coast hundreds of thousands of people are something more in it. -- or something in it. he was just like his mom read they did not know what to do with him. he was put in the psychiatric ward with 50 other patients. one of the symptoms of huntington's, you lose control of your arms. they would walk around and dropped a plate of food in front of your bed. he could not get the fork to his mouth. my mother had to pay other patients to feed him. >> your mother was? >> marjorie. a lot of people may know her from the martha graham company. she is quite well known in the dance world in new york city. she was eric hawkins teacher.
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anyway, our house was leadbelly to the left and market granted the right. other people in front and back. >> john gotti? he was your next-door neighbor? >> that was howard beach. my grandmother was a yiddish poet. that is another story. yiddish a well-known yet thi poet. chevron her story in hebrew and my mother wanted us to be able to read it. by the way, i am not religious. on my birth certificate says "all or none." anyway, but one of the cultural aspects was we should learn hebrew to read my grandmother's stuff. so my mom hired a local rabbi. there was a synagogue a couple of blocks away. a young guy in his 20s, sweet and quiet. she hired him for a couple of months to teach as hebrew.
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i actually have home footage of him in the house sitting around a table like this. it was a disaster. we were not very good. he got really upset and said to my mother, "the guthrie kids are not taking hebrew seriously." and he was right. and he left. he quit. evidently, he put america as well and ended up in israel. >> and ended up being assassinated in times square. >> he was a tough guy. >> john gotti, the rabbi, binney went to move in chapel choir in your neighbors were the clintons pretty quick i moved up 2 westchester after living around all the boroughs. i went to elisabeth irwin high school where a lot of your friends from now last night whlast night when a pretty >> there is a big reunion. >> it was right across the
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street from the winery. >> friends of mine that have a child ate.i. now, the kids put together a copy house and i played at the little auditorium. leadbelly was definitely on the stage. i wondered whether it would be played there are not. >> in 1949. historically, it is a very important school. a lot blacklisted teachers worked there. teachers who could not get work anywhere else in the 1950's. my music teacher -- angela davis went there. the rosenberg kids were there. arthur miller's kids were there. woody guthrie kids were there. it was a very interesting school
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to go to. anyway, i did move up to west chester. >> i want to ask about the impact on the family of your father's battle with huntington's, eventually your mother began an effort to eradicate huntington's. >> yes. when my dad died, they held a concert at carnegie hall. that was the concert that bob dylan came out of retirement. he had been in a motorcycle accident and came out of retirement and says, "i got to do this." the band was there and bob dylan and a whole bunch of other people. my brother was just ready now. he must have been like 20 or something at the time. at that point, my mother -- she was an incredible woman. she deserves a network television show just to talk about her. she kind of put her foot down and gather as all around the table. i was 21. the day after i turned 21, she
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said to us, "are you all ok? you're 21 now, can you take your? yourselves" we all said, "yes, mom, what is up?" she says, "i have to go find a cure for huntington's disease." she couldn't add in "the new york times" the next day. one person called. they met for tea. they put the ad in again and three people called. long story short, she founded all the organizations that began huntington's disease research, which is not the forefront. all the doctors and researchers at the forefront of genetic research right now were my mother's babies. not literally. but she would go around all the medical schools and talk to the students and say, why going to plastic surgery when he can go into genetic research?
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again, why do to make money when he could do something for humanity? she is really the godmother of so much of the research that is happening now. a funny story since anna canoni is here, when i was pregnant with her -- >> 20 seconds for the >> i said, mom, i'm going to have a baby. she says, i have to go to australia and about huntington's. she said, it will be fine. everyone is there for the birth of their first grandchild, but she had to go to a sharia make a speech. it is that kind of life. as children, you learn to give it up for humanity. >> on that note, thank you both for being with us. we will continue our post showed just after this break and you can go to. steve earle to, anna canoni,, and nora guthrie. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013.
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